HAMBURG, GERMANY — It’s time for another edition of: “Why do other countries get all the cool stuff?” Many public schools in the states look slightly better than prisons. We get dourly functional brick buildings surrounded by wire fences that communicate the idea of purgatory from blocks away. They’re gulags for children and that has to color their impression of learning throughout their lives.
Meanwhile in Germany, students are getting a building they wouldn’t mind seeing first thing in the morning. Last year blauraum Architekten finished work on a district school in Bergedorf. The most striking feature to our eyes is the tile: slightly glossy, soft blue and green colors take on a calming, liquid look as they gently reflect their surroundings. These colors also appear inside the buildings on some of the walls and floors. The studio told ArchDaily that the concept was to color code the different schools in the district, but we imagine it has the added bonus of significantly dialing back the stress and childhood angst that typically fester inside schools.
The façade is characterised by two dominant features: firstly, a hand crafted render surface which creates vibrant reflections according to changing sun light; secondly, ceramic tiles for the entrance area that correlate to similar material used in the existing buildings. Prevailing colour patterns in the vicinity are setting the tone for the new tiles and let the colours adapt from a light sky blue into a pattern of green like a pixilation. The glazed tile surface performs as a reflection screen for varying light immissions and contrasts the coarse render surfaces. A detailed and corresponding colour scheme is applied to all interior surfaces and functions as part of the schools educational concept for grade and age identification.
blauraum is made up of founding partners Rüdiger Ebel, Volker Halbach and Carsten Venus. According to their studio biography they focus “n the conceptual and technical challenges incorporating the variety of strategies in the daily practice of architecture, the main objective remains the initial concept, the origin of every planning. Central to blauraum’s every planning process is the closest possible transference of the original architectural concept, starting from the draft on paper as well as the virtual rendering on screen into the finalized, materialized object.”
Do you love or loathe this use of contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.